Last night my wife boarded a plane for Europe. She is going on a trip for work. I miss her, and I had the standard “trip” anxiety we all experience when a loved one travels.
But I didn’t seriously worry about her safety on the trip. I knew that she would be safe and secure. I knew the facilities would be clean and in working order. I knew that security would be thorough (for all I may have my issues with the civil liberties implications). I knew the plane would be well maintained, and flown safely, and avoid other planes. All of these incredible implicit assumptions, each critical for delivery of the person who means the most in my life to another part of the globe quickly and efficiently, I took for granted. I didn’t think about them at all.
The reason I could take them for granted is because I knew, we all knew, that the people doing that work to ensure my wife’s safety were highly trained professionals. People who took pride in the work, who have gotten enough rest to be alert and are focused on the job at hand because they don’t have to be preoccupied with other worries. These people have the tools and talent to do important and often difficult jobs well.
Those tools and talent are possible thanks to unions. From the maintenance workers on the planes, to the gate agents, to the pilots and flight attendants, to the air traffic controllers and beyond, these skilled Americans are represented by organizations they themselves have created and empowered to speak for their interests. And by acting in a collective fashion, they have worked in cooperation with the companies that fly airplanes, the public-private partnerships that operate airports, and the government that manages our airspace to ensure safety and efficiency. Because of those people and their collective action, I did not worry when my wife left on her trip.
Here in Loudoun, our friends and neighbors in the union community are often overlooked. How many of us realize just how much of our economy is dependent on union professionals working in and around the air travel industry? Without Dulles Airport and the Air Traffic Control facility in Leesburg, Loudoun would not be the engine of high-paying jobs and opportunities it is.
So I just want to say “thanks” to all the amazing people who make my wife’s safe flight possible. And thanks to their union representation for insuring those people have what they need to do their jobs well. I know you’ll get her home safely.